Months in Spanish

What's the Spanish word for January?

And the answer: Enero.    

In Spanish, the first few months of the year are enero, febrero, and marzo.

Photo credit: iStock. 

Like the English calendar, the months of the year in Spanish are based on the Julian calendar, dating back to Ancient Rome. When Julius Caesar took into account the four seasons of the year (as well as the 365 or so days it takes to round the sun), he adjusted the ten month calendar to include two extra months and a leap day. As a result, the Spanish calendar finds its names from Latin origins:

January: Enero, from the Old Spanish word jenero, which has roots in the Latin januarius. This month honors Janus, the two-faced God that looked upon the past and the future.

February: Febrero, from the Latin februarius, meaning to purify. The Romans consecrated this Month, the shortest of the year, to Neptune, God of Water and the Sea.

March: Marzo, from the Latin martius. In honor of Mars, the God of Warfare, this used to be the first month of the year in the old Roman calendar.

April: Abril, from the Latin aprilis. Coming from aprire, to open, this name refers to the blooming of the month.

May: Mayo, from Latin maius, in honor of Maia, the eldest of the Pleiades, daughter of Atlas and Pleione.

June: Junio, from the Latin iuniu. This month honors Juno, the Goddess of Home.

July: Julio, from the Latin iuliu, in honor of Julius Caesar. In the ancient Roman calendar it was called quintiles, as it was the fifth month.

August: Agosto, from Latin augustus. Named for Augustus, the Octavian emperor.

September: Septiembre, from Latin september, as it was the seventh month in the ancient Roman calendar.

October: Octubre – From Latin october, as it was the eighth month in the ancient Roman calendar (sensing a theme here?).

November: Noviembre – From Latin november, the ninth month of the early Romans. During Commodus’ Empire there was an attempt to rename it exaperatorius, but clearly it didn't stick.

December: Diciembre – From Latin december, tenth month in the ancient Roman calendar, dedicated to Vesta (Goddess of the Hearth, Home and Family).

Learn more about Spanish months of the year here.


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